I’ve been reflecting on the two posts, Buddhism in academia and paticcasamuppada. In regards to the latter, my initial thoughts were that paticcasamuppada is everything; the common denominator in all of the Buddha’s teaching and the point of all of the practice. Perusing through the discussion I noticed how sometimes my own tendency can be to make a religion about the Buddha’s intent.
What is the point?
The young man Siddhartha Gautama had existential angst and needed answers.
He shaved his head and left the dusty household life.
He devoted his entire being to learning to practice forms of deep meditation and contemplation.
Having known indulgence, he also engaged in extreme asceticism.
He learned and mastered the deep meditations of the jhanas.
All of his efforts and all of his methods left him short.
He remembered the rose apple tree.
Could the key be in having joy in being ok with the situation no matter what that was, that it was so much simpler that he was making it out to be?
He diverted his attention towards logically assimilating everything he could think of.
Every step had another.
Every state had a drive behind it.
Even through all of the deepest jhanas there was a grasping.
When he let go of everything, there was a realization.
What arises, passes away.
His final conclusion was…
The only way to experience anything is through the aggregates/bundles.
Yet, those are prone to desire what isn’t and desire what is to be different.
They are also extremely deceptive.
And they so easily look like there is a permanent being behind them.
The bundles are to be abandoned.
But to be is via the bundles, they never go away.
He had no choice but to live in the world; in his body, with his feelings, perceptions, inclinations, and consciousness.
But he looked on with full knowledge and awareness of how they worked.
He didn’t get fooled by them.
He didn’t get enchanted by them.
He didn’t relate as an entity in them.
He saw the all: knowing and understanding.
If all of his monks listened, he was equanimous.
If some of his monks listened and some didn’t, he was equanimous.
If none of his monks listened, he was equanimous.
The Buddha’s teachings were to help me know where and how to look. For years, I read the suttas and practiced, needing to understand. Often I would find myself making a religion of it because I was missing the point. It seems that the point is pretty simple, really. Life as I find it happens; live each moment with intention and equanimity, being aware that even that consciousness is conditioned.
What do you think?